In the developed world, the performance cars keep getting faster as the figures keep climbing higher and higher. Even in the hot hatch market, the numbers have become quite ridiculous with the likes of the Audi RS3 Sportback with 394bhp and the previous-gen AMG A45 with 376bhp. But now, it’s become a little less expensive to join the AMG club with a more usable amount of power in this new baby hot hatch – the AMG A35.
Unveiled in the metal at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the new Mercedes-AMG A35 is the entry-level performance model in the range and is based on the latest generation of the A-Class. Fret not, the new A45 based on the new A-Class is still to come in 2019, perhaps with more than 400bhp, but this A35 is the cheaper, de-tuned version. Not that it is going to be slow by any means. It still has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 306bhp and 400Nm of torque. It is equipped with Merc’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system that is set up to be predominantly FWD but when needed, 50 per cent of those 306 horses can be sent to the rear wheels.
While the A45 will aim to dethrone the RS3 for higher power figures, the new 306bhp A35 finds itself sandwiched between two icons of the hot hatch ethos – the FWD lap-record setting 316bhp Honda Civic Type R and the also FWD 296bhp Volkswagen Golf R. But the Merc has the advantages of plush interiors, more comfort, cool tech and a premium badge that won’t force you to explain why you spent all that money on a hatchback.
Just because the A35 is now the cheapest AMG doesn’t mean it’s been given any less love. All the important bits taken from the new A-Class, like the engine, suspension, transmission, electronic tuning etc have been given the Affalterbach treatment. The interiors are similar with the two large LCD screen displays but get sporty red lighting settings, sportier trim with contrast stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel too.
On the outside too, the AMG A35 is not subtle about its peppy nature, especially not with that roof-spoiler, those twin exhaust tips with the sporty rear diffuser between them or all the gloss-black winglets on the front bumper and behind the wheel arches. In all honesty, I like that this AMG hatchback has a bit of a YOBO feel to it from factory and one can easily predict that exhaust mods are going to be common for it.
Some argue that the AMG moniker should be reserved for the most ridiculous, tyre smoking, turbocharged V8 iterations alone. But the company clearly wants to be in just about every segment they can in terms of both performance and pricing, as seen from the V6 powered C43, CLA45, GLA45 and the like. There are even new mild-hybrid versions coming up like the CLS53 as well for a more efficient approach to daily-driven performance cars. As a member of the class that aspires to that level of premium automotive and hopes against the odds to maybe one day enter the realm of comfortable performance, I see the A35 as a great stepping stone of a car to make the AMG lifestyle a little more accessible.
What do you think of the new Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatch? Do you like the design and the aero bits as well? Would you buy it at base price for the performance alone or pay Merc extra to spec it with the best goodies? Share your thoughts in the comments below the gallery. Leave a like if you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for the all the updates on our latest content.